Michael Kopech allows five homers as Giants rout White Sox

Kopech’s fastball topped out at 97.1 mph but averaged 94.4, according to Baseball Savant. More discouraging was that the Giants squared all of his home-run pitches with conviction.

SHARE Michael Kopech allows five homers as Giants rout White Sox
White Sox starter Michael Kopech gave up four home runs in the fifth inning alone.

White Sox starter Michael Kopech gave up four home runs in the fifth inning alone.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The White Sox’ day off Tuesday will allow Michael Kopech more time to heed manager Pedro Grifol’s suggestion that the team “flush” the 12-3 setback against the -Giants out of its system.

But considering Kopech allowed five of the seven home runs smacked Monday by the Giants, a semi-deep analysis could be in order after the poundage dampened the spirits of a home-opening crowd of 34,784.

During spring training, Kopech’s velocity hovered below 95 mph, a few ticks slower than his 2022 average that at times made him nearly as dominant as American League Cy Young contender Dylan Cease.

Kopech’s fastball topped out at 97.1 mph but averaged 94.4 during his 423-inning stint Monday, according to Baseball Savant.

More discouraging to Kopech and the Sox was that the Giants’ hitters squared all of his home-run pitches with conviction. Michael Conforto hit a shoulder-high fastball on an 0-2 pitch for the first of four homers in the fifth that eventually knocked out Kopech.

Thairo Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski smacked breaking pitches for solo shots before David Villar hit the first of his two homers on a 95 mph fastball well over the left-field fence.

Kopech was fortunate the damage wasn’t more severe, as center fielder Luis Robert Jr. made a leaping catch to rob Joc Pederson of his second homer of the game in the third.

The fact the Giants took Kopech deep frequently on a variety of pitches raised the question as to whether he might have been tipping his pitches.

“We’re going to look at it,” Grifol said. “We’re going to look at everything. We’re not going to leave any stone unturned. We’re going to get to work on it and just make sure we’re covering all facets of the game.

“And that’s a part of it. That’s a real thing in baseball. It doesn’t matter whether it’s him or whoever it is. Every time somebody pitches for us, the next day we’re watching video to see if anything like that is happening. That’s just a part of our checklist.”

Kopech became the third pitcher in Sox history to allow five homers in a game, joining Eddie Lopat (April 23, 1947) at Detroit and Reynaldo Lopez (July 27, 2018) against the Blue Jays. And he didn’t rule out the possibility that the Giants could tell which pitches he was throwing.

“If it wasn’t necessarily a tip, there was something I was doing different, breaking ball to fastball,” Kopech said. “Just by the body language of the hitters, they were on everything. I have enough speed difference to throw guys off a little bit. The fact they were on everything, they saw something. Whether it was a tip or just me presenting pitches differently, they put good swings on it and it showed.

“I’ve had guys stay on my stuff before and with that, it comes with getting hit. I’ll take that in my next bullpen [session], and we’ll work on it there.”

Kopech will receive an extra day of rest before his next scheduled start Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Backup infielder Hanser Alberto finished the game after Jose Ruiz gave up a grand slam to Villar in the ninth inning. The seven homers surrendered were one shy of the franchise record set July 31, 2007, at Yankee Stadium.

The only drama occurred in the bottom of the second after Andrew Vaughn exchanged words with Giants starter Andrew DeSclafani after hitting a feeble grounder on a 3-0 slider.

“He did not say a nice word,” DeSclafani told Giants beat writers.

Vaughn wasn’t available for 30 minutes after the game.

“It didn’t get too far, so I’m not going to get into that too much,” Grifol said.

The Latest
Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said Friday that the issue believed to be behind the outage was not a security incident or cyberattack. It said a fix was on the way.
Cheng, who had been diagnosed with a rare illness with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, passed away Wednesday at home surrounded by her loved ones, her family wrote on Facebook.
Three researchers analyzed data from a major national survey and found a significant increase in self-reported mental health issues since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, regardless of gender, race and other factors.
Woman loved her late parents but wants to clarify her fuzzy memories of inappropriate touching.
Few people realize what a wide range of career and technical education programs the Chicago Public Schools offers, says guest columnist Lashaunta Moore, who learned broadcast media skills at Percy L. Julian High School in Washington Heights.